The sun beat down upon a small warehouse on the edge of an Arizona town. Surrounding the warehouse were several Military Police cars, with a number of sweating MPs boiling out of them. And in the lead, wearing his usual expression of grim determination (or maybe mild indigestion) was Colonel Roderick Decker.
"I've got you this time, Smith," the man growled. Beside him, his second-in-command, Captain Crane, just rolled his eyes.
"I saw that," Decker replied. "We KNOW they're in here. We've been keeping a close watch on the place since they went in."
Crane shrugged. "With all due respect, sir, this IS the A-Team."
"Yeah." Decker deflated a little. "Well, I can hope, can't I?"
The signal given, the MPs rushed the building, prying open the doors and running in, guns at the ready. Decker, first through the door, stopped dead in his tracks, struggling not to laugh.
Five men hung upside down from the ceiling, lashed there by a rather ingenious snarl of ropes. All five were bound and gagged, and a large manila envelope was taped to the front of the first one. On the front of it was written "Rod" in a hand Decker knew only too well.
"Well, let's see what he left for me," the colonel sighed, crossing the floor and grabbing the envelope. He wasn't particularly concerned about the dangling men-- while chasing the Team, he made a point to keep up with whatever case they were involved in. For that reason, he knew these five were more than likely the drug dealers who had been terrorizing the town.
Decker's brow furrowed as he read the note in the envelope. Smith's missive was short and matter-of-fact, detailing the evidence to be found on the five men. The usual taunting air of the exchanges was gone. Looking at the photos also in the envelope, Decker saw why. His expression hardened, and he passed the envelope to Captain Crane, who made a faint noise of disgust.
Crossing his arms, Decker surveyed the five criminals, looking for the one who occupied the proper place on the evolutionary ladder. He had to be high enough for Smith and his men to have put the fear of God into him, but low enough that he'd be happy spilling his guts in exchange for a nice safe cell, where he'd never have to see the team again. Selecting one, Decker ungagged him.
"Now, I don't suppose you'd be willing to tell me where the A-Team went," Decker began casually. The thug swallowed.
"I dunno. They strung us up like this, and we heard all them cars pull up. Then they walked off, and I didn't see 'em after that."
"Well, can you describe them? What were they armed with?"
When the man was slow in answering, Decker sighed. "Well, if you're not going to be a cooperative witness, I'm afraid I'm going to have to release you."
The goon paled despite the blood rushing to his head, and Decker would have bet his pension the man was thinking of Baracus. Quickly, he began to speak.
"Um- the old guy, with the cigar, he had a pistol. The other three had automatic weapons. Oh, and the good-looking one, the kid, was sprouting a black eye where Louie punched 'im."
"Good. And what were they wearing?" An APB was probably wasted at this point, but he'd try, anyway.
"Well, y'know, that's the funny thing. They were wearing uniforms like yours."
Decker froze. "They were wearing fatigues?"
"Yeah, I guess so. And hats, too. All four of 'em."
Spinning around, Decker opened his mouth to shout an order, but was drowned out by the sound of an engine. An engine he'd now spent a couple years chasing. "É Damn," he finished.
Outside, he could hear a couple of cars screaming off in hot pursuit, but Decker made no move to join the chase. He knew state of the local roads, and he knew the Team's driving, which meant he knew the outcome of the chase. His addition wasn't likely to cause a miracle.
With a sigh, Decker straightened. "Lieutenant!" he called, beckoning the younger man over. "I want your men to run clean-up, understand?"
"Yes sir!" The lieutenant hesitated. "Sir, what about that?" He jerked his thumb at the still-dangling drug dealers.
"Cut 'em down, of course," Decker replied. Then he grinned wickedly. "AFTER you've swept the warehouse for traps. Wouldn't want them falling into some scheme of the A-Team's devising, now would we?"
The soldier grinned. "No, sir." Turning away, he began to direct his team.
Meanwhile, Decker headed out the front door, Crane a little behind him. The two of them hadn't gotten more than two feet out when Decker stopped, his attention on something by his foot. Crane leaned over, inspecting it.
"It's a cigar butt, sir," the captain remarked, his voice unusually level. "Looks fresh."
"They really did it, didn't they? Put on fatigues and walked right out the damn door, through a squad of MPs."
Crane shrugged. "Looks that way, sir."
"Damn, man, looks as though we're going to have to start checking for ID." The note of amusement in the colonel's voice told Crane it was all right to let loose the chuckle he'd been holding.
"It might not be a bad idea at that, sir."
"Lynch is never going to let me live this down."
"Look on the bright side, sir. At least you didn't hand them the keys."
In the hot desert sun, Colonel Roderick Decker threw back his head and laughed. He should, he knew, be more upset by this. The A-Team had slipped through his grasp again. Somehow, though, he couldn't summon up the necessary ire. After all, there was always tomorrow.